Kong: King of Atlantis - Look how they massacred my boy!


Right, I’m not going to mince words or draw anything out in this review. King Kong: King of Atlantis is absolute garbage. Now, I’m not taking garbage on the level of Crazy Frog Racer or American Idol, but somehow I honestly think that makes it worse. I got a laugh out of those games from their sheer ineptitude, but Kong just *sucks*. From its poor gameplay, archaic password system, awful graphics, terrible level design, this is a game that is as close to a failure on every level whilst still technically being fully playable as a video game. We did it, people. We’ve found the actual floor of ‘quality’. Look, I don’t have that much to say about this game. Look at the screenshots, you can see how bad this looks, I’m just going to get through this as quickly as possible.

So, real talk, the main reason I picked this up was because the concept of a game being called King: King of Atlantis was frankly hilarious. I mean, what the hell does Kong have to do with Atlantis of all fucking things? It was only after I’d played and had a frankly terrible time with this game that I discovered there was a whole animated series based off the Kong franchise… which doesn’t really explain why Kong looks like several magnitudes of ass. Seriously, Kong is one ugly motherfucker in this game, and that's pretty impressive when a bunch of these other, similar, animated series monsters existed. The Godzilla from Godzilla: The Animated Series looks great! How did they screw up my boy this bad!? Anyway, turns out there’s actually a game that came out before King of Atlantis, but considering the, uh, quality of Atlantis, I worry about tackling that title sometime. Really hope King of Atlantis wasn’t a kind of iterative sequel, because… geez.

Like many other shovelware-esque games of this era, Kong is a 2D-platformer where you’ll be moving through ugly, repetitive environments, all in search of objectives that don’t matter and will be solved in its screenshot ‘cutscenes’. Yeah, it’s that kind of game. And they didn’t even pick particularly attractive screenshots, either. Again - Kong is one ugly motherfucker. Whilst some levels are simple left-to-right endeavors, others are more vertical affairs, but they have one thing in common with each other; you just can’t see what’s coming up. Whilst the camera can be scrolled, ever so slightly, by holding up and down on the D-Pad, there are a lot of vertical sections where you just have no idea if you’re leaping to a platform below you, or you’re foolishly - like I did *constantly* - plummeting to your death. Usually, though, the actual platforming, when you’re not doing leaps of faith, are fine. Aggressively fine, but, yeah. I know, a glowing recommendation.

That is, it’s fine in a vacuum - because when you throw this game’s crappy non-platofrming hazards into the mix… feck. At first, I didn’t think the game was *too* brutal with its hazards, but that was when I was just playing as Jason, or the other character who’s name I don’t even remember because I was just skipping through cutscenes. That says a lot, doesn’t it? Anyway, Jason (and not Jason) is small and fast, and you can duck and weave through a lot of the still-annoying foes without too much damage. Kong though. Sweet baby Jesus, trying to avoid foes as Kong is like trying to steer a bull in a china store. Kong plays like *ass*. Foes are almost impossible to avoid, due to Kong’s sheer size, and even if you do dodge their blows, many foes just explode into noxious goo that’ll hit Kong regardless. In addition to this, whilst Kong has all the earth-shattering prowess of a titan, the one thing he can’t leap over are… trees. Single trees. You’ll be charging through levels, only to be stopped by some glorified sticks, and these are pretty much *always* placed in such a way you’ll almost certainly take hits from various hazards whilst you’re trying to punch it down, and that’ll inevitably lead to you dying and going through these crappy levels once more. They do, thankfully, mix it up with some combat focussex stages, but with the combat system - if you can even call it such - is so bare bones and basic these quickly turn into literal glacial slug-fest that you might find yourself wishing you had some crappy platforming to actually occupy the time you’re wasting with this game. Punch-punch, move on. Punch-punch, move on. Nothing less, nothing more. God I wish it was something more.

Not only is it not soul-draining to play, King of Atlantis looks rough. Like, 90s American Godzilla rough. Not the aforementioned animated one, the movie one. Uh. Anyway. The human character sprites are somehow both tiny and yet somehow are still blurry as all hell. Kong’s got the same issue, but even with more pixels and whatnot he just looks like a mess, an issue that is compounded by how awful his proportions are. I’m sorry, I really shouldn’t be ragging on about how much I dislike this design, but GEEZ. There is literally nothing to say about how the rest of the game looks - it’s just so utterly generic in how each stage looks - generic forest, nondescript desert, ever-present ruins… There’s simply nothing to it, feeling almost like a palette swap of some other generic GBA game I’d seen before or played as a kid.

Throw in some truly uninspired tunes and a terrible password system - coming out in the goddamn year of our lord 2005 - it’s clear that this was made to rush out a game as quickly and effortlessly as possible.For those who actually soldier through this title, with luck you’ll probably blaze through this game in little more than an hour - the hallmark of any game with a password system. Why were games this late into the GBA’s lifespan using the bloody password system? I’d honestly prefer it to have no save system at all - maybe just throw you a Game Over when your lives hit zero, BUT you only get knocked back to the first level of the stage you’re on. I dunno, it just really rubs me the wrong way. Which is more than I can say about this game’s soundtrack, which just leaves me feeling… nothing. Real talk, whilst I was writing this point, I actually had to look up a longplay of this game to remember what it actually sounded like.

Look, I’m not gonna pretend this is a particularly good review, but what am I supposed to do? This is a bottom-tier game, technically playable, but I can’t remember the last time I played a game where I was as consistently bored and depressed at having to slog through it. From middling gameplay, to terrible level design, to ugly graphics and outdated mechanics, Kong: King of Atlantis is not worth your time, money, or even energy thinking about. It is the epitome of shovelware trash, made for a quota and nothing else. It’s terrible, and is genuinely one of the worst games I’ve ever played. It’s playable… but there’s a point where the bare, bare minimum isn’t nearly enough.

Thank you so much for reading this, admitadtly terrible, review of Kong: King of Atlantis. I’m genuinely sorry for the lower quality review, but I just found it incredibly hard to write about a game so aggressively shite as this title. I promise that my next few reviews will be better, I swear. We’ll be taking a look at a much more notable title, so hopefully I’ll have actually something interesting to say then. As always, you can find me over at Twitter @Lemmy7003, or you can email me cckaiju@gmail.com if you have any requests or questions. Thanks again fro reading, and I’ll see you next time.